|RJ’s emerging war plan
* Royal Jordanian is stepping up preparedness for the looming war on Iraq. Sources at the Kingdom’s national carrier indicated it formed a contingency plan to maintain RJ operations in wartime. The sources said the plan takes into account of all possibilities that may emerge from the current crisis between Iraq and the US.
The plan also considers the relocation of some of RJ’s aircrafts, especially the leased ones, to secure their continuation. It was formed jointly with the Ministry of Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority.
Almost all of the international airlines are expected to cancel their flights to the region if there is a war. This is not to forget what the severe repercussions war will bring on tourism.
Death tolls on the road
* Car accidents in 2002 cost the Kingdom more than JD 160 million in losses. These were due to the over 53,000 car accidents that resulted in the death of 750 people, and 17,000 injuries. According to the Traffic Dept., an average of one car accident occurs every 10 minutes, and one death in every 11 hours. The concerned authorities said people need to be made more aware of the terrible consequences and huge resources wasted because of these accidents. About one-fifth of those died last year in car accidents were children.
* About JD 300 million in loans were used last year to finance different economic and social projects. These loans are part of the foreign aid Jordan is receiving from the US, Europe and Japan. Ministry of Finance sources indicate 81.6 percent of the loans came from foreign financial institutions, including the World Bank, European Investment Bank and the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank.
The government’s socio-economic transformation plan requires JD 290 million for this year’s development projects. Only JD 90 million were secured in the 2003 fiscal budget. The 15-month-old plan by the Ministry of Planning, focuses on the development of different sectors, including human resources, local municipalities, social security and education. Some of last year’s projects are still under execution and expected to be completed later this year.
Ads on Internet
* Jordanians are expected to spend more than JD 6 million on their Internet-based advertisements. According to Hani Gibsheh, director of Al Bawaba website, Jordanian expenditures on the global web’s commercials are estimated at JD 300,000, about 10 percent of the Kingdom’s commercial market. The world spends more than $3 billion on Internet commercials, while the Middle East makes $10 million of that. Gibsheh indicated business on the Internet is spreading in the region, although access to the Internet remains at low levels. A recent study by the Cairo-based Sakhr Computer Company noted Arab spending on Internet commercials will reach $70 million in 2005. The study said this business will flourish over the coming five years.
* The Jordan Refunding Estate Mortgage Co. extended JD 72 million in loans to support local housing credits. The money was given in 34 loans disbursed through nine banks to partially finance 8300 housing credits, estimated at JD 120 million. Last week, the company granted the Arab Banking Corp. and the Arab Egyptian Estate Bank JD 6.5 million to refund housing credits for this year. The latest loans were offered at fixed interest rates for the coming three years.